assail, assault, set_on, attack
Meaning: attack someone physically or emotionally; "The mugger assaulted the woman"; "Nightmares assailed him regularly"
To attack the first is not to assail the last.
The Southern vanguard could not assail such a powerful force, and before the night was over the whole Union army passed to the Northern side of the Rappahannock.
Their favorite object was the plunder of a certain church on one of the Spanish islands, which they proposed to assail during the midnight mass of Christmas, whereby a triple end would be achieved: first, a rich booty; secondly, the punishment of idolatry; thirdly, vengeance on the arch-enemies of their party and their faith.
To make the Visigoths their enemies, he advised that the accustomed stipend allowed to this people should be withheld; and as he thought these enemies would not be sufficient alone to disturb the empire, he contrived that the Burgundians, Franks, Vandals, and Alans (a northern people in search of new habitations), should assail the Roman provinces.
The duke, influenced by his inveterate hostility against the Florentines, his new obligation to the Lucchese, and, above all, by his desire to prevent so great an acquisition from falling into the hands of his ancient enemies, determined either to send a strong force into Tuscany, or vigorously to assail the Venetians, so as to compel the Florentines to give up their enterprise and go to their relief.